Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright once reportedly said, "Women's careers don't go in straight lines. They zigzag all over the place." This must be my problem. I am in the middle of redesigning my website to incorporate all three of my careers--journalist, mental health advocate and mother--and with all the zigzagging involved here, I'll be damned if I can remember what it is I do. Or did. Is this sad, or what? Everyone knows it's hard to write with small kids in the house--I have a deadbolt lock installed on my office door to attest to that--but what they don't tell you is that even if you do manage to get some work done, the presence of those kids will pretty much guarantee that you won't remember what it was once you finish it. I've had to go to the bookshelf to refresh my memory: What was the name of that anthology? What magazines have I written for? --And then, assuming you can remember some publications, there is then the question: did I write anything worth mentioning for them?--which is a dangerous question, because there are some things I've written I'd just as soon forget.
In a way, looking back over the (cough!) body of work I've managed to accumulate over the years is both a lesson in humility and a boost to the self-esteem. The boost part is realizing that despite all the obstacles--the Editor from Hell, the two-legged distractions, the dead-end assignments--I've managed to put down some words on paper that still look okay after many years. The humility part comes with realizing how few of them were what I thought were a big deal at the time. Writing, like life, is funny that way: the important moments sneak up on you.